By: Mark Fitzgerald
Third Spanish-Language Daily Hits Newsstands
Venezuelan businessman Oswaldo Mu?oz figures he has hit on the gimmick that will ensure El Diario’s success as the third Spanish-language daily in Miami: Target all those southern Florida Latinos who are not Cubans.
“Colombians, Ecuadorians, Nicaraguans, Peruvians, Venezuelans – there’s a growing community in Miami who are not Cubans and every day more arrive from Latin America,” Mu?oz said in rapid-fire Spanish during a telephone interview from Miami. Mu?oz said the city’s established Spanish-language dailies – Knight Ridder’s El Nuevo Herald and the Aguirre family’s 47-year-old Diario Las Americas – have concentrated too much coverage on Cuban affairs in southern Florida and on the island.
Mu?oz said his investment group of eight Venezuelans has put up $8 million for El Diario, which launched Thursday with a 60,000-copy press run. The 24-page tabloid, which retails for 25 cents daily and 50 cents on Sundays, covers local, business, and sports news while also devoting four pages of daily coverage to Latin American affairs and a page to immigration issues. On Sundays, the paper turns trilingual with articles in Portuguese for residents and visitors from Brazil and a page in Creole for the Haitian community.
While starting a daily from scratch is audacious – and costly, given his need to contract out printing at USA Today’s Miramar plant and hire a distributor – Mu?oz is no stranger to the Miami market. For the past five years, he has published El Venezuelan, a weekly that circulates among Venezuelans in Broward County.
Charles H. Green, who heads the International Media Center at Florida International University, said Mu?oz’s plan might work: “I certainly think it makes sense. There are enough other Hispanics here to make it a market.”
But Carlos Castaneda, editor and publisher of the 92,000-circulation El Nuevo Herald, poured agua fria (cold water) on the notion. “I don’t think they have any idea what it is to put out a paper every day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” said Castaneda, who was visited by the Mu?oz group before the launch. With the rising cost of newsprint, a cover price that is the same as the much fatter El Nuevo Herald, and the expenses of printing and distribution, he said: “I don’t think it can last for long.” Serving the Cuban market – who make up 60% of El Nuevo Herald’s readers – has been good for the paper, which Castaneda said has recently been operating on a 33.2% profit margin.
Cuban coverage also dominates the pages of Diario Las Americas, which has a sworn circulation of 68,000. Editor and Publisher Horacio Aguirre was unavailable, and Alejandro Aguirre, assistant publisher and advertising director, did not return messages for comment.
While Mu?oz said his El Diario will “balance” Cuban coverage with other Latin American news, he was at pains to emphasize that the paper’s editorial viewpoint would not clash with the Miami Cuban community’s anti-Castro fervor. “We are anti-Castro – of course,” he said. “We are anti-Communist – of course.”
Mark Fitzgerald ([email protected]) is editor at large for E&P.
Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher.